PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON GOVERNOR'S BUDGET PROPOSAL
We have completed our initial review of Governor Warner's proposed executive budget for 2004-06 that was submitted earlier today to the joint money committees of the House and Senate and the news for Old Dominion University is positive...very positive.
The Governor honored his commitment to review the issue of base adequacy funding for Virginia's public colleges, universities and community colleges. Coupled with the mandate to increase tuition, this will allow all state institutions to begin addressing a $400 million shortfall.
Old Dominion will receive the largest allocation issued to any university in Virginia. Based on the Governor's submission, Old Dominion will receive $4.8 million in general funds and $2 million in non-general funds for the 2004-05 fiscal year and an additional $6.4 million in general funds and $4 million in non-general funds for the 2005-06 fiscal year, a total of more than $17.2 over the biennium. The total amount allocated to all institutions for base adequacy was $111.7 million and Old Dominion's share equaled 15 percent. The funds allocated in this category were based on a complex calculation that included enrollment growth, base operating funds, degree completion and research.
I cannot begin to tell you what it will mean to this institution - to our students, faculty and staff - if we are able to realize this type of funding support over the biennium. Obviously, we need to recognize that this funding is dependent on the adoption of this budget.
The fact that the Governor heard our plea to review base adequacy is significant. I cannot thank him and his staff enough for recognizing this disparity that has existed far too long at Old Dominion. I know many of our board members, alumni, faculty and staff, students and friends contacted him on our behalf. Many of the Hampton Roads delegation did so as well, and I am extremely grateful to them.
As proposed in the Governor's budget, research capabilities on campus also will be enhanced by a $403,000 allocation to fund our access to the advanced national communication networks for computation-intensive research in partnership with Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth and William & Mary.
Old Dominion University will also receive an increase in student financial aid, based on student need. The Commonwealth's equipment trust fund will increase from $2.8 million to $3.5 million. Funds in the SCHEV budget for eminent scholars will remain the same as last year. Old Dominion's maintenance reserve fund will increase. Additionally, the capital allocation of $6.9 million will allow for the expansion of TELETECHNET in community colleges across the state. Old Dominion will also receive $171,000 in general funds and 4 positions for the Engineering and Computational Sciences Building.
Old Dominion would also receive $11 million in capital funds for the Systems Research Building and $1 million for improvements on 43rd Street, contingent upon the adoption of a revenue enhancement plan. In addition, there are some non-general fund projects related to recreation, parking and land acquisition.
The Governor's budget for 2004-05 will cover 88 percent of the increased costs for health care. State employees will see a modest increase in their premiums. For example, starting July 1, 2004, basic family coverage will increase $14 per month and individual employee coverage will increase by $4 monthly.
The Governor also put forth funding for a 3 percent salary increase for state employees and faculty effective November 25, 2005. Classified state employees who are rated as "extraordinary contributors" will be entitled to an additional 1 percent for a total salary increase of 4 percent.
While we will work hard in Richmond over the next several months to ensure our funding remains in the budget, this news from the Governor is a wonderful send-off for all of us as we begin the holiday season with hope and optimism for a better-funded Old Dominion University. We are a great institution, and with the needed resources included in the Governor's budget, there is no limit to our ability to soar even higher in the months and years ahead.
We will keep you posted on what happens with the budget and what you can do to help. In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season.
This article was posted on: December 18, 2003
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